Classical Notes: Pinchas for Pietermaritzburg

14 Aug 2014

Pinchas for Pietermaritzburg

Hats off to a notable South African music entrepreneur based in Stellenbosch for pulling off the extraordinary coup of bringing two of the world’s greatest classical superstars to this country ...within months of each other. In May, South African audiences were treated to the never-to-be-forgotten experience of Britain’s phenomenally gifted bass baritone, Bryn Terfel, performing on our stages. Now another star of equal magnitude, the legendary violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, is about to tour this country again thanks to the prowess of Charl van Heyningen Enterprises, Purveyors of Class Acts (who, incidentally, also brought Joshua Bell to South Africa in 2012).

Parklane Superspar, in collaboration with Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival, has announced a performance in Pietermaritzburg by Zukerman. He will appear with his wife, South African-born Amanda Forsyth, Canada’s pre-eminent cellist, and Canadian pianist Angela Cheng. Zukerman’s trio will perform a bumper programme built around two cornerstone works of the world’s chamber music repertoire – Beethoven’s magnificent Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello No 6 in B flat Opus 97 ‘Archduke’, and Dvořák’s much-loved ‘Dumky’ Trio No 4 in E Minor, Opus 90, B 166.

This not-to-be-missed event, billed as the one of the most illustrious musical happenings in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital for the last 30 years, takes place in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Saturday August 30 at 7.30pm.

Born in Tel Aviv, Zukerman began his musical studies at age four. Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals learned of Zukerman's violin talent during a 1962 visit to Israel. Zukerman subsequently moved to the United States to study at the Juilliard School where under the tutelage of Stern he made his New York début in 1963. In 1967, he shared the Leventritt Prize with the Korean violinist Kyung-Wha Chung. His 1969 debut recordings of the concerti by Tchaikovsky (under the direction of Antal Dorati, with the London Symphony Orchestra) and Mendelssohn (with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic) launched a hugely successful recording career that continues to the present day and boasts over 110 releases.

Zukerman plays the "Dushkin" Guarnerius del Gesù violin of 1742. His recordings have received 21 Grammy nominations, and two Grammy wins. He has collaborated with filmmaker Christopher Nupen on several projects, and was the subject of Nupen's Pinchas Zukerman: Here to Make Music documentary of 1974. In 2003 he founded a string quintet, the Zukerman Chamber Players, which has released three CD recordings in addition to its roster of live performances.

Zukerman’s wife Amanda is the daughter of the composer Malcolm Forsyth (1936 - 2011) who was born in Pietermaritzburg. He was named Canadian Composer of the Year (1989), and in 2003 was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

While audiences in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Johannesburg will hear Pinchas Zukerman partnered by South African orchestras, no orchestral concert is scheduled in KwaZulu-Natal. So enthusiasts are strongly advised to make an evening of it and treat themselves to the rare opportunity of hearing one of the great musicians of our age performing in the acoustically superb ambience of the Maritzburg City Hall.

Booking is open at Parklane Superspar Coffee Shop and patrons are encouraged to book early for this gala affair. For telephonic bookings call 033 342 3487. Ticket prices range from R200 to R250 with discounts on selected seats for students and pensioners. Tickets include refreshments and secure parking is provided in the City Hall precinct.

Meanwhile, back on the Durban music scene, Michel Schneuwly has announced the next programme to be performed at the Church of the Monastery at Mariannhill in his Baroque 2000 series on Sunday (August 17) at 3pm. The newly formed Gut String Quartet led by Dutch Baroque violinist Antoinette Lohmann will play quartets by Haydn, Boccherini, and Joseph Martin Krauss.

Following performance trends long prevalent abroad, this is the first quartet of its kind in South Africa, dedicated to authentic recreations of great music from the Baroque and later eras. The ensemble plays on instruments with gut, not metal strings, and pursues the performance practices of historical times. Lohmann has recorded extensively on CD and is now a frequent visitor to South Africa. The other members are Ralitza Macheva (violin) Elmarie van der Vyver (viola) and Cecilia di Cecco (cello). Tickets for this event, the first of its kind in Durban, are R120 at the door. There is plenty of safe parking. Enquiries to, or call 082 303 524.

Finally, a note that a choral and dance concert titled My Redeemer Liveth, featuring five Catholic schools from the greater Durban area, will be held as a fund-raiser for the Denis Hurley Centre at Emmanuel Cathedral on Thursday August 21 at 5.30 for 6pm. Participating schools are Maris Stella Convent from Berea, Holy Family College in Glenmore, St Francis College in Mariannhill and St Benedict School in Pinetown, who will perform sacred choral music. The music will be complemented by learners from KwaThintwa School of the Deaf in Inchanga who will perform a programme of dances. The concert is co-ordinated by Maris Stella and hosted by the Cathedral’s Pinkie Mtshali. Entry is free and all are welcome. A collection will be taken for the Denis Hurley Centre and refreshments will be on sale after the concert. For further information, contact Paddy Kearney 031 201 3832 / 072 806 4417.


-Republished courtesy of The Mercury newspaper-

William Charlton-Perkins
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